War in Iraq continuing to go to plan.... well, everyone else's plan but the Administration's
October 17, 2007 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Turkish MPs back attacks in Iraq. [BBC] The vote was taken in defiance of pressure from the US and Iraq, which have called on Turkey for restraint. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the motion does not mean a military operation is imminent. But he said Turkey needed to be able to respond to a recent rise in bomb attacks blamed on PKK rebels from Iraq [Previously]. Also, [SeaTimes] Flourishing Kurdistan raises specter of war. Needless to say, this is giving the Bush Administration a four alarm Turkish headache on two fronts.
posted by psmealey (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Jive, Turkey
posted by porn in the woods at 1:13 PM on October 17, 2007

Just in time for Thanksgiving.
posted by dead_ at 1:17 PM on October 17, 2007

I bet the US has been working overtime trying to convince the peshmerga to fight for Kurdistan in Iran and Syria but not Turkey.

"Guys, please? C'mon, you don't really want Diyarbakir, do you? It's a hole. C'mon, now Syria, that's some prime real estate! And what about Iran? C'mon, just look at that oil! Who wouldn't want a piece of that? Turkey? Turkey's nowhere man, Iran is where it's at!"

Being caught between two friends that hate each other is an interesting place to be. We owe Turkey for a number of things (Incirlik being merely one), and yet we also owe the Kurds for all manner of covert assistance over the years (from what I understand, could be wrong).
posted by aramaic at 1:34 PM on October 17, 2007

From the Seattle Times link:

They are believed to be the world's largest ethnic group without a state, the victims of superpower machinations after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the close of World War I.

This is only a half-truth. The more important half is that the Kurds have sabotaged themselves for centuries, squabbling with each other rather than uniting against common enemies. Both of the main "parties" (actually clan groupings) in Iraq cut deals with Saddam at various times and got a lot of their fellow Kurds killed. I'm glad they've gotten a reasonably secure and prosperous chunk of territory and I hope it leads to a better way of interacting, but I'm not holding my breath.

None of which is to excuse Turkish saber-rattling, of course.
posted by languagehat at 1:59 PM on October 17, 2007

Every article I read concerning Turkey, the PKK, and Northern Iraq always refers to US pressure on Turkey. My question is, what "pressure" can the US really apply? The invasion of Iraq is an argument for Turkey to invade Northern Iraq. I just don't see what sort of stick the US has to use against Turkey at all.

If anything, Turkey can apply pressure to the US, as it is doing regarding the genocide amendment. Turkey has a range of options with which to pressure the US, everything from disabling supply lines (Incirilik) to active military action.
posted by herda05 at 2:07 PM on October 17, 2007

I guess the Kurds are about to find out what being an ally of the US is worth.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:09 PM on October 17, 2007

So, let me summarise this in a few words: Turkey, confronted with an actual, not an imagined, terrorist threat from Iraq, decides to "fight them there, rather than fight them here" and the US, of all countries, has something to say about it? Whoah.

Not that the Turks are necessarily right, you know, but pot, kettle and all that...
posted by Skeptic at 2:13 PM on October 17, 2007

Meanwhile, it's World War III if Iran goes nuclear.

Interesting times...*sigh*
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:24 PM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

My question is, what "pressure" can the US really apply?

Since what Turkey really wants most of all is entry into the EU, there's little assistance the US can provide on that front. It's an interesting question, really. I guess unless the Soviet Union comes back as zombie Soviet Union, the only leverage the US has over Turkey is in military or foreign aid.
posted by psmealey at 2:25 PM on October 17, 2007

the move to call the Armenian genocide a genocide is going down the tubes, fast...now is will merely be called a massacre.
posted by Postroad at 3:02 PM on October 17, 2007

Maybe it was just a paddlin'. Or a thumpin'.

Slate's 2003-2004 How Screwed Are the Kurds? and Kurd Sellout Watch are still relevant.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:48 PM on October 17, 2007

Turkey's membership in NATO is not something it would like to see go away, either, so that's another small bit of pressure.
posted by absalom at 5:01 PM on October 17, 2007

I lived in Turkey for about a year and a half. We have lots of leverage with Turkey. We could stop selling them arms, we could pull all our troops out of Turkey, blah blah blah. I'm not implying that we'd hurt them militarily by doing so, but it would hurt them economically. Our soldiers and facilities there are quite profitable for the local (and national) economies.

That said, I don't think we'd like to do any such thing, even if we could. Turkey has been a pretty good ally over the years. Their troops are also very tough and numerous, and it's way better for us if they remain our ally than if they become our enemy.

It seems like this is the week where the U.S. is just dead set on pissing off just about everyone. We're pissing off the Turks with the Armenian genocide stuff. We're pissing off Russia with the nuclear shield stuff and our attempts to bypass them by building our own oil pipelines. We're pissing off China with the Dalai Lama awards. Let's see, that's about half the world right there that we've pissed off *this week*.
posted by jamstigator at 5:07 PM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

related--and shows that we're in no position to dictate anything to anyone lately, if we ever were at all: A Culture of Lies, and a Desperate Need for Action -- ... In the last several years, we have caused the deaths of a million or more innocent people. The United States has committed crimes on a scale that defy comprehension. This fact is almost never mentioned by our leading politicians and commentators. And now all our leading politicians lay the groundwork for another act of still worse, monstrous, criminal aggression -- but we discuss it as if it is our "right" to wreak destruction, suffering and death, in the name of "self-defense" and "civilization." Lies, on top of criminality, on top of genocide, both accomplished and planned. Lies and destruction without end, and facts and reality are banished altogether. ...

And we still dictate to other countries how they should or shouldn't behave--Turkey should do what it wants. It's too bad the EU is so shitty to them--they could have helped with this situation but now it's too late.
posted by amberglow at 5:33 PM on October 17, 2007

That said, I don't think we'd like to do any such thing, even if we could. Turkey has been a pretty good ally over the years. Their troops are also very tough and numerous, and it's way better for us if they remain our ally than if they become our enemy.

Yup--Turkey is our friend, and important as a bridge bet Europe ("the West") and the Middle East. If we had any sort of good government, they'd act with that in mind.
posted by amberglow at 5:35 PM on October 17, 2007

I wonder how all the new oil deals the Kurds are making independently (one with Hunt--a Bush pioneer) is playing into all this?
posted by amberglow at 5:37 PM on October 17, 2007

Since the previous thread on the subject got axed, I'll repeat my assertion that this Thanksgiving we'll be having Freedom Fowl at Chez MoonPie.
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:54 PM on October 17, 2007

The Real Iraq We Knew, By 12 former Army captains.
posted by homunculus at 8:15 PM on October 17, 2007

If Turkey gets too spunky, I think the Greeks will quickly become involved, leaving Turkey with two fronts and no support from the US. This could stir up the Balkans again, if there's anything left to stir up.
posted by Goofyy at 5:04 AM on October 18, 2007

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